Ghostly Memories

Submitted into Contest #65 in response to: Write about someone’s first Halloween as a ghost.... view prompt

6 comments

Fiction


Levi pulled a black shirt from his closet, black jeans from the laundry basket and a pair of mismatched black socks from an assorted pile of things behind the bedroom door. After getting dressed, he slipped on a pair of black sneakers and put on a black baseball cap that he decorated with two felt triangles to look like ears.


This will have to do, Levi thought.


Since early February, Levi startled when he looked in the mirror. After taking a few seconds to compose himself, he drew whiskers onto his face using a piece of coal from the barbeque grill.


“Levi! Hurry up! Your friends are here!” called his mom.


“I’m on my way Mom!” Levi hollered back.


Before leaving his room, Levi glanced at the well-made twin bed that was a constant reminder of his loss and thought, I’m so not into doing this. It will never be the same without him.



“Come on you slug! We’ve got to get to Mr. Peter’s house before he runs out of the king-sized candy bars!” teased Rob.


“I’ll bet I collect the most Milk Duds!” said Morgan, setting everyone up for a challenge.


Grabbing a small black trash bag, Levi quietly trailed behind his friends who were excited to begin trick-or-treating.


It didn’t take long before their bags were filled with treats and Morgan was ready to do something more exciting.


“Let’s check out the haunted house behind the movie theater,” suggested Rob.


“Great idea!” said Morgan.


The line to get in wasn’t too long, but Rob and Morgan were still impatient waiting their turn.


Levi politely stated, “You guys go ahead. I’ll wait for you at the exit.”


“No way!” answered Rob.


“We’ve always celebrated Halloween as a group. You have to come,” added Morgan.


Feeling pressured, Levi reluctantly agreed to join them.



Morgan and Rob screamed and laughed as the magic of technology allowed ghosts to fly through the air while goblins jumped out from behind strategically placed walls. Coffins were filled with skeletons and life-like mannequins in full rigor mortis and the sounds of a ticking clock, creaking floorboards and organ music flooded their ears with constant stimulation. Watching blood run down the neck of an unsuspecting victim when Dracula’s teeth punctured their skin freaked them both out. As they searched for a way to escape, they found themselves tangled up in cotton batting cob webs, which only added to the creep factor. Through it all, Levi followed behind, never making a sound.


“Not bad for a man-made haunted house,” said Rob, sweating profusely as they left the building.


“Why don’t we visit the graveyard? If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll trip over a real corpse,” Morgan said as he faked being afraid.


“I’d rather not go there,” responded Levi.


“You can’t bail out on us now! It’s our last stop of the night!” said Rob, obviously trying to persuade Levi to participate.


Levi’s hands were clenched so hard, his nails dug into his palms. After taking a very deep breath, he was only able to whisper, “O.K.”


“Then, let’s go!” directed Morgan.



The graveyard was on the far edge of town. For over 20 minutes, Rob and Morgan talked about one foolish topic after another, while Levi followed behind, never saying a word.


The trees that lined the street leading to the entrance had lost most of their leaves. The crooked branches that pointed toward the sky looked like the large, grasping talons of vultures and the hands of evil witches.


The iron gates were wide open, seeming to dare anyone brave enough to walk through them. Rob and Morgan grabbed one another, falling to the ground as they wrestled for a few minutes before getting up and giving each other a high-five.


“Show time! Follow me,” said Rob, bending over to look like the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.


The boys walked along the main road for a while before Morgan took the lead, pointed to his right and said, “This looks like a promising row of headstones to check out.”


They had barely gone 30 yards when the wind began to swirl, lightening lit up the sky and a crack of thunder made them all cover their ears. The ground shook for a moment, startling a colony of bats that flew in all directions, to include over and around the boys. Morgan looked down as a silvery black snake slithered over his shoes and onto a nearby grave. Seconds later, Rob and Morgan heard someone moaning their names and an apparition appeared before them.


“We’re out of here!” shrieked Rob and Morgan at the exact same time, and began running as fast as they could.



Levi wasn’t bothered by any of that. He kept his head down and continued walking down the dirt path, swinging his full sack of candy back and forth, inches from the ground.


The sky cleared, and a full moon blanketed the dead with light. Levi barely noticed, as the flashbacks flooded him with memories, some which made him smile, others that caused him to cry out in anguish.


“Why?... It’s not fair!... I wish I were dead too!” Levi wailed in tortuous emotional pain, before falling onto his hands and knees. He didn’t have the strength to hold himself up, falling on his face and sliding toward a headstone. Levi laid there and sobbed for what seemed like forever until he almost stopped breathing. At that point, he forced himself to take in a mouthful of damp air before pushing himself upright and opening his eyes.


As he stared at the headstone, a ghost appeared, hovering directly above it.


Within moments, a warmth flooded over Levi, entering and filling the gaping void that he had carried with him since that horrific day. As he sat back on his heels, the ghost gently descended in front of the headstone, directing its gaze into Levi’s eyes.


Levi could still see the information carved into the stone, and he reached through the ghost to run his finger over the inscription.


“Why Liam?... Why did you have to leave me?... You’re the only one with the answer, and the only one who could understand what I’ve been going through,” Levi said, choking on his words.


A single tear rolled down his cheek, and the ghost gently wiped it away. Then, from inside his head, Levi heard Liam’s voice:


Levi, I will always be your protector and we’ll forever be joined together in our hearts, our souls and our memories. The bond, and the face we share, will never change and cannot be broken. I will always be with you, as you are with me.


Then, as if by magic, the ghost surrounded Levi’s shoulders with a wispy touch, which felt just like his brother’s hug. Levi closed his eyes and prayed the feeling would never end. However, a clap of thunder caused his eyes to open, and Liam’s ghost, and his bag of candy were gone.


Levi stood up, stroked Liam’s headstone and said, “I don’t know what I would have done without you! Thanks brother!”



Levi believed he was floating as he found his way home, happy for the first time since Liam died.


As he came up the walk, Levi’s mom opened the door, stared at him with a puzzled look and said, “Levi, you were wearing a black shirt when you left.”


Levi stepped in front of the hall mirror and immediately saw his brother’s eyes looking back at him. The shimmering white shirt was obviously Liam’s gift from heaven, delivered in his healing embrace.


Levi turned to his mother and said, “Mom, I never realized how important names can be. I know that Liam will always be my guardian angel and the attachment we share will continue to grow stronger with each passing day. And, whether you believe it or not, Liam taught me this, transforming my black shirt into this white one so I would never forget.”

October 31, 2020 03:55

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6 comments

Howard Halsall
09:39 Nov 05, 2020

I loved your story, Sue. A lovely mixture of tragedy and hope. I thought you really captured the Halloween atmosphere and the goofing around was well observed too. Yes, definitely an interesting twist on the notion of afterlife and loss. I look forward to reading your next piece.

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Sue M
03:44 Nov 06, 2020

Thanks so much for the feedback Howard! I always appreciate when someone takes the time to offer an opinion, suggestion, constructive criticism and/or encouragement to continue writing. Hopefully, a prompt that catches my attention will be posted soon. Sue

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Kathy Jablow
14:12 Nov 02, 2020

Beautiful insight to the after life! Reminds us that those we love may leave us in this earthly world, but are with us forever in our heart and memories! Yes, I Believe!! Thanks Sue!

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Sue M
01:10 Nov 03, 2020

I couldn’t have said that better Kathy ! Thank you so much for reading and helping to make my story quite clear. Now that you’ve logged in, why don’t you give writing a story a try? The price is right and you can choose a prompt that interests you. Again, THANK YOU! Sue

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Vee Roach
11:36 Oct 31, 2020

This story moves from tragedy to hope. This sets it above the more ghoulish themes for me.

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Sue M
00:51 Nov 01, 2020

Vivian, not only am I grateful that you took time to read and comment on my latest story, I love the fact you’re now a member of Reedsy. Can’t wait to read one of your up and coming short stories. I’m so glad my Halloween idea left you hopeful...which we sure need more of during these stressful times. Thank you!! Sue

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